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Saturday, 22 December 2007

St Madoes Perthshire Scotland

St Madoes Perthshire Scotland. St Madoes Photographs. St Madoes in 1846. St Madoes., a parish, in the county of Perth, 6 miles (E. by S.) from Perth; containing, with the villages of Cot-Town and Hawkstone, 327 inhabitants. This parish is supposed to have derived its name from St. Modoch. The relics of antiquity calculated to throw light on its early history are scanty. One of the several Druidical temples, however, which are to be seen in this part of the country, stands here; and there is a pillar yet remaining in the churchyard, composed of grey sandstone, and constructed after the model of those pillars termed Runic, which are generally supposed to be of Danish origin, but which many are rather disposed to think were raised at the first introduction of Christianity, to commemorate that event. It is considered highly probable that St. Modoch, a Gallic missionary to Scotland in the third or fourth century, visited this parish, and that, having made converts, a church dedicated to him was built in the place where the present church stands. It may also be observed, that in the village of Hawkstone is a large stone upon which it is believed the hawk of the peasant Hay alighted, after it had circumscribed in its flight the land to be assigned to him as a reward for his services at the battle of Luncarty. This relic is always called "the hawk's stone," and stands upon the verge of property formerly belonging to the Hays, of Errol.

The parish, which is among the smallest in Scotland, contains 1152 acres. It is situated in that division of the county called the Carse of Gowrie, and is bounded on the north by Kinfauns, on the south by the river Tay, on the east by the parish of Errol, and on the west by Kinnoull. The surface principally consists of three successive level tracts, each rising a little above the other: the first, commencing at the margin of the river, has all been recovered within the last half century, and some of it very lately, and is four or five feet below high-water mark. The second level is six or seven feet higher; and the third is elevated about fourteen feet above the second, and is much more extensive than either of the others. After this the ground ascends gradually to its highest elevation, sixty-two feet above the high-water mark of the river, and then gently slopes northward till it becomes level with the large flat upon the southern side of the ridge, and with the rest of the rich and fertile tract called the Carse of Gowrie. The scenery, which from some points appears rather tame, changes its character if beheld from the elevated parts of the neighbourhood, especially the summit of Inchyra hill, when several objects rise in different directions to grace and beautify the prospect. The ample stream of the Tay, receiving into its basin on the opposite side the waters of the Earn; the spreading buildings of Newburgh on one side, and on the other the town of Abernethy, the ancient capital of the Picts, resting on the slope of a range of rugged hills; Pitfour Castle, with its lands and plantations; and the church spire, almost concealed by venerable foliage, supply altogether a group of no ordinary interest. The Tay, the chief stream connected with the parish, is in this part about one mile broad, and at high-water seventeen feet deep. In the winter of 1838 it was visited by the wild swan, a circumstance which had not occurred before for forty years.

The soil varies considerably in different parts. On the higher grounds it is a dark loam, incumbent on light sand or clay, and running sometimes to a depth of three feet. The flat land bordering on the higher is in some parts a rich alluvial loam, of a clayey nature, and producing all kinds of crops in abundance; other parts are a strong clay. The level in the immediate vicinity of the Tay consists of eighty acres, mostly reclaimed since 1826, and is a rich loam, yielding the heaviest crops without manure. Of the whole lands about 1059 acres are under tillage, sixty in pasture, and thirty-three under wood; the crops comprise wheat, oats, barley, beans, potatoes, turnips, and hay, the grain being chiefly sent to Perth, and the potatoes to London. Wedge or furrow draining, introduced into these parts within the last twenty years, has been practised to a considerable extent and with great success, especially in those soils distinguished by a tenacious clay. Among the materials used for the construction of the drains have been turf, wood, and broken stones, each tried separately; but nothing has been found to answer so well as tiles, which are now coming into general use, through the ample supply of them provided at the extensive kilns built by Sir John Stuart Richardson, Bart., of Pitfour Castle, the proprietor of the parish. About eighty-five acres of land have been at different times reclaimed from the Tay by embankments; and it is supposed that many acres more may be converted into productive fields. A considerable quantity was recovered in 1826, by an enterprising farmer, at a cost of £1530. In 1833, eighteen acres were gained at an expense of £1200, by the proprietor, whose paper on embankments, read before the Highland Society, received the prize medal. The plantations consist of every species of wood, among which are some very fine planes and elms; the trees are in a flourishing condition, and vary in age from seventeen to seventy or eighty years. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4182.

The prevailing substratum throughout the district is the old red sandstone formation. In all the more level grounds it is covered with an alluvium so thick that the rock is scarcely to be reached; but in the higher parts, where the strata have been accidentally disturbed and thrown up, its character is distinctly seen. It lies in beds varying in thickness from one to three feet, with thin layers of clay between them; and a quarry has been opened in the parish, in which numerous highly interesting organic remains have been discovered, consisting of various species and parts of fishes. These prevail most in the deeper beds, and in those of a brecciated character. The great number of scales and dissevered parts which have been found in the quarries here and in the neighbourhood, have been proved by the discovery of a very beautiful and complete fossil specimen in 1836, to belong to the genus Holoptychius. The chief mansion in the parish is Pitfour Castle, the residence of the proprietor of the parish; it is spacious and of a quadrangular form, and surrounded by rich and extensive lands, plantations, and gardens, all tastefully disposed and in excellent condition. The park, flower-gardens, and shrubberies are, indeed, surpassed by few in the Carse of Gowrie. There are two villages, named Hawkstone and Cot-Town, each having a small population; the intercourse for the disposal of produce is mainly with the market-town of Perth, with which there is a daily communication by coaches and carriers. Roads for local convenience intersect the parish in every direction; the great road from Perth to Aberdeen, by Dundee, traverses its northern boundary; and the road from Perth to Errol also runs through the parish. A pier and harbour, constructed a few years ago by the proprietor, opposite the junction of the Tay and Earn, have proved of great advantage to the parish; here coal, lime, and manure are received, and large quantities of potatoes exported. There is a valuable fishery for salmon, the rent of which, paid to the proprietor of the parish, is £1000: the hands employed in it are during the winter months engaged in the manufacture of flax and hemp, which they regularly receive from the Dundee merchants.

The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling; patron, Sir John Richardson. The stipend of the minister is £208. 10., with a manse, built in 1804, and repaired in 1829, and a glebe of twenty-seven acres, and about two acres of garden, valued at £80 per annum. The church, a plain building erected in 1798, contains 610 sittings. There is a parochial school, in which mathematics are taught, with the usual branches of education, and Latin and Greek if required; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and about £10 fees. The children receiving instruction belong principally to the neighbouring parishes of Errol, Kinfauns, and Kinnoull. There is also a subscription library of 200 volumes, the terms of which are 4½d. per quarter; and the poor have the interest of £500, arising from a bequest, made 200 years ago, of only 200 marks, which by good management accumulated. The chief relic of antiquity is the stone monument in the churchyard, seven feet in length and about three in width; it is a great curiosity, and beautifully carved with numerous emblematical devices on both sides, in a state of high preservation. From the sign of a cross on one side, it is supposed, as already observed, to be connected with the introduction of Christianity into the parish. The Rev. Archibald Stevenson, one of the leading men of the Church of Scotland during the last century, was minister of St. Madoes.

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